Hotels in popular holiday destinations in Vietnam are gearing up for a buzzing long weekend, as locals begin to unwind over a rare five-day public holiday that is the result of a combination of three important calendar events – Hùng Kings Commemoration Day, National Reunification and May Day.
Xavier Cappelut, vice president of operations at Accor Vietnam, told TTG Asia that the group’s “destination hotels” are enjoying intense interest from both domestic and international markets.
“Accor boasts an extensive network of hotels across cities, popular leisure destinations and emerging destinations around the country. Our hotels in Phan Thiet, Vung Tau, Danang, Dalat and Sapa are witnessing a significant increase in demand, thanks to greater domestic travel during this period,” he elaborated.
Over in capital city Hanoi, staycation demand appears softer. Nguyen Thi Hoa, director of sales & marketing at the newly-opened Grand Mercure Hanoi, said it is now an off-peak period for city hotels.
“According to travel agents and tour operators, outbound tours are the most preferred by Vietnamese travellers. This is followed by domestic tours to islands and beaches as well as tourist destinations in the Central Highlands,” Nguyen explained, adding that it is common for the working crowd to take leave during such extended weekends, causing a dip in corporate group bookings.
While corporate travel is put on pause during the long holidays, resulting in softer demand for city hotels, Cappelut said some cities like Danang are still expecting to conclude the month with “very strong levels of occupancy”.
Prem Joseph, director sales and marketing, Sheraton Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort, is relieved that early murmurs about domestic airfare spikes over the long weekend peak did not dampen travel interest among Vietnam residents.
“Occupancies have significantly improved for this period,” he said.
Local news media have reported on economy flight tickets flying off the shelves as early as the start of April, with round-trip airfares for popular resort destinations commanding higher than normal rates. This led the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to ask airlines to provide more flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City hubs to tourism hot spots like Nha Trang, Danang, Phu Quoc and Da Lat, and for airfares to be publicly listed on distribution channels to prevent price gouging.
Hotels told TTG Asia that they have been running their own promotions to convert interest into bookings.
Sheraton Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort has a three-bedroom villa promotion, aimed at families and small groups, where guests can upgrade from a two-bedroom unit to a larger villa for just 300,000 dong (US$12.80) per night. Other hot deals include Sheraton Side By Side, the resort’s signature stay-and-dine package; and World of Wonders package, which throws in access to attractions Vinwonders and VinSafari. The resort is also looking to entice guests with its new restaurant Wok and Curry, where Korean, Indian, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese menus are offered.
Grand Mercure Hanoi offers a daycation package with Deluxe room and spa treatments for two, priced from 3,500,000++ dong, as well as an F&B promotion that shaves 50 per cent off breakfast buffet rates.
Beyond this long public holiday period, hotels say the domestic market will continue to be a valuable one for them.
Cappelut said: “The recovery of international flows may be hindered by the limited flight capacities currently operating from key source markets. We will thus retain a very strong focus on domestic audiences throughout our region.”
Joseph noted that direct international flights to Phu Quoc “are yet to return anywhere near 2019 levels”.
“But even when they do eventually, the domestic market will continue to remain a key focus for us as it is a year-round market,” added Joseph.